I have heard a number of prophetic words recently that have carried a tone of judgment in them. That concerns me.
This is one example. I did eventually publish it on Northwest Prophetic, but not until I’d run the word past a number of prophets with whom I have a relationship to add their discernment to my own, and they are correct, this word adds a large dose of hope at the end, after the disasters are declared. But it really made me think.
Words of judgment bother me. I was discussing that with a new friend recently, and it made me think about why it bothers me.
If I were to sit in the judgment of 1Corinthians 14:29 over this word, I would say that this is definitely from God, this is definitely from the heart of the Father, and in that sense, it is both prophetic and accurate. But I think I would suggest that this legitimate and no doubt powerful prophetic experience might have been intended as a call to that prophet to intercession for the cities she spoke about, not as a declaration or calling-forth of judgment on them.
One of the principles that God is reinforcing in this season is the power of the prophetic declaration. It’s the means by which God performed the work of creation: “And God said …. And it was so.” Job 22:28 captures it clearly: “You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you.”
I can tell you of a prophet I know (Kris Vallotton, Bethel Church, Redding CA, and he shares this publicly), who was visiting with a couple who wanted desperately to have kids, but were medically unable; the doctors had given up hope. God whispered to Kris, “Tell them that this time next year, she’ll be holding her son in her arms.” Kris argued with God, “I can’t say that!”, and God answered, “If you don’t say it, I won’t do it.”
I can also tell you of times that I have made declarations and seen circumstances change, sometimes literally overnight; unfortunately, not all of my declarations were as well informed as they were well intentioned, and so not all of the miraculous power released through them ended up bringing praise to God. There were expensive lessons there.
One reason I hesitate so much to declare prophetic judgment is because I have learned that accurately declaring a sinful state that does in fact exist only releases power to strengthen the sinful state. I can find chapter & verse to support the concept, but I have enough experience that has taught me as well.
One of the most powerful parts of a prophetic call is the call to be with God: without intimacy, we can’t speak intimate words. He pointed out to me one time that there are a whole lot of things that my wife speaks to me in our intimate moments together that I would never think of sharing publicly, the vast majority of them in fact. So it is when He and I are intimate: many, perhaps most, of the things that pass between us in those moments are not intended for public conversation. Not everything that God reveals in private is to be declared publicly.
Occasionally, He has revealed someone’s sin to me so that I can pray for those caught in the sin. Other times, He has shown me failure so that I learn His ways better (“This is what grieves me, Son”). And other times, he reveals failure to me as a warning to me personally: I must guard myself if I don’t want to go the way that some of the “huge” ministries you spoke of will go. He has never revealed someone's sin to me so that I can tell people about that sin.
I'm convinced that the vast majority of the time that God shows us something of judgment, something of sin, something about someone's problems, He is not giving it to us to declare, to prophesy, to talk about it. He's telling us of the things that break His heart so that they'll break our heart, so that we'll pray.
He reveals His heart in Ezekiel: "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it..." His goal is that he "would not have to destroy it." His goal is mercy, because mercy always triumphs over judgment!
So please allow me to encourage the prophetically gifted among us: don’t prophesy the problem. Pray until you can prophesy the solution.